One of the things Argentina is best known and loved for is its outstanding wines. Those who come to enjoy them don’t want to miss Mendoza, which sits in the foothills of the Andes just east of Chile. It’s the main wine region in the country, home to over 1,200 wineries, nearly 400,000 acres of vineyards, and it also accounts for more than 70% of the country’s total wine production. This high desert oasis gets less than 10 inches of rainfall annually, but the vines can rely on the snowmelt from the Andes for pure water. The grapes thrive under the strong high altitude sun which shines for over 300 days each year, with the cool nights allowing the grapes to rest and retain the acids that are vital to the wine. The central region is home to the most traditional winemaking areas: Lujan de Cuyo and Maipu, located just slightly south of Mendoza city, producing Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, as well as its most characteristic variety, Malbec.